According to AAA, for people ages 5-14 deaths from collisions are 4 times higher on Halloween night…you’d think people would be hyper-aware knowing the witches, goblins, zombies are out…if you must drive, slow down, look-out and chill-out.
#TCVote Yes on Proposal 1
~ By guest contributor Mayor Chris Bzdok
Good evening and welcome. I want to thank you for coming tonight and I want to thank the organizers and staff of Traverse City Equality and the Vote Yes campaign: Ross Richardson, Marshall Persky, Rick Shimel, Diana Ketola, Lee & Donna Hornberger, Danielle Stein, and Laura Wilson. I want to thank our hosts tonight – the Dettmers, Hornbergers, Robbs, Parsons and Waltons.
We’re here tonight at the culmination of a long process in Traverse City. Over a decade ago TC voters rejected an anti-gay ballot initiative on this subject, by a wide margin. Then, last summer, the Traverse City Human Rights Commission led by Marshall worked with our city attorney to draft a non-discrimination ordinance.
The ordinance prohibits discrimination in Traverse City. The key difference between the ordinance and Michigan law is that the ordinance protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, while Michigan law does not. It prevents employees from being fired from their jobs or denied housing or access to public accommodations because they are gay or transgender. It requires contractors doing business with the city to comply as well, whether they are located in the city or not.
The ordinance then came forward from the Human Rights Commission to the City Commission. The effort was spearheaded there by City Commissioner Jim Carruthers. Jim not only worked tirelessly for its passage at the City Commission, he stood firm under a storm of personal harassment by some ordinance opponents.
The City Commission passed the ordinance unanimously. In passing it unanimously I believe the City Commission sent a message that equality in Traverse City is not a partisan issue. Equality in Traverse City is a human rights issue. Not only did the CC unanimously approve the ordinance; all but one of the current city candidates endorse it too. Equality in Traverse City is a consensus.
Now the opponents of the ordinance have put it on the ballot, and that is their right. It is crucial to remember, however, that in the year the ordinance has been in effect their two main predictions have not come true.
The opposition said the ordinance would drive away business from the city by imposing scary new regulations. The ordinance has not driven away business, business has accepted it. The Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce official position statement says that the Chamber “believes any form of discrimination is wrong,” and that “our members have not brought any concerns or issues about the current ordinance to our attention.”
The opponents also said the ordinance would be used to persecute people for their religion. Not one person has claimed to be persecuted. The ordinance also has important exemptions to protect religious beliefs.
On November 8th we will settle it once and for all. We must do this because it is our only path forward for the future. It is the only way to build a city out of the bricks of our aspirations and held together by the mortar of our values.
The bricks are aspirations of who and what and how we want to be as a city and a community. An inclusive place, a place that looks after people, a place that steps forward into the future and not backward into a skewed and myopic vision of the past.
The mortar of our values say it’s worth the effort of writing and recommending and passing and then defending at the ballot box a law that says people will not be treated unfairly because of who they are. These values that hold our aspirations together say not only do we not practice discrimination ourselves – discrimination is so antithetical to what we stand for that we will not allow it within our boundaries.
It takes courage to be unambiguous. It takes courage not to hedge. But as a city, we have no other choice. Nobody ever built anything for the long-term by treating people unjustly. Nobody wants to live in a community that wallows in fear and intolerance.
If you create something that is well thought out and fair, as we did; and you build a broad consensus for it, as we did; and you are on the right side of history, as we are; and you communicate clearly and with energy what is at stake, as we must – there are few limits on what you can do.
I read a statement this week that it’s the job of leaders to invent alternative futures and enroll others in the cause of making them come true. In the Traverse City future I hope for, we won’t have these arguments any more, because we will have resolved them once and for all. We won’t spend time enforcing this ordinance, because we won’t have to. It will simply be a baseline for the way in which we live.
At the city commission meeting last fall where we passed this ordinance, I mentioned that my wife Colleen grew up on a farm in southwest Ontario, in a community that was the literal end of the underground railroad. That community resolved the argument about whether people are entitled to equality under the law in 1850. As a result, many of those escaped former slaves stayed in that community, and their descendants are still there. They live alongside the descendants of the Irish and Scottish immigrants who welcomed them 160 years ago. They stayed because the community embraced them.
When Colleen was 9 years old she asked her mom if they knew any black people. Her mom said yes dear, Odessa and Harold – who lived across the laneway. Colleen disputed this – “Odessa’s not black mom, she’s our neighbour.”
If they figured it out in the Ontario farm country in 1850, I am confident Traverse City can figure it out in 2011. If you tell the world that you treat people fairly, whatever the distinctions among them, eventually you won’t have to argue about those distinctions any more. Eventually, we’ll all just be neighbors.
That’s our future. Thanks to you – thanks to all of you – that future starts November 8th.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The above comments were made by current the mayor last Thursday night at a Traverse City Equality party and fundraiser. The Mayor has one week left in his term and his leadership will be sorely missed–thank you for serving Mayor Bzdok.
- The Hingeline consolidates intel on the TC candidates (Hingeline) Thanks!
- If it gets more kids walking to school, I’m all in favor of
bribingincentivizing them to do so (Freakonomics)
- Revolution fueled by resistors on bicycles. (Amnesty) –>
- Can you put an economic value on to a bicycle trail? Turns out, yup (AtlanticCities) and that is good news for Michigan property values near the new Northeastern State Trail (IPR)
- A market based solution to traffic (AtlanticCities) is further explored, while the GOP continues to attack 2% of the total $40.2 billion highway budget that is actually a solution for it (Planetizen) Yet, Sen. Rand Paul continues to label investment in bicycling “craziness” (ThinkProgress)
- Hitting The “Marchetti Wall” (CityFix)
If you’re a typical North American, at the end of a long, stressful day at work, you’re not saying, ‘I can’t wait to get in my car. I would just love to go for a drive.’ It’s much more likely you’ll say, ‘I wish I could go for a walk.”~ Todd Litman
- Consultant away from home discovers incremental pricing for a bus seat is the charm (KriosConsulting) while the true cost of a 40 minute daily commute shows, yes, it is too bad. (Mr.Money)
- Riding away from fear: the open streets movement in Mexico City (AtlanticCities)
- Nice rebuttal to common tactics opposing traffic calming (UrbanCountry)
New technological approaches to participation will only have a meaningful impact if policymakers, planners and developers start to recognize that participation has instrumental benefits – that community input can and does improve project outcomes.”
- RT ellyblue : My conclusion: Bike helmet debate = yawn. Let’s switch to important questions, like: Should there be private automobiles on public roads?
- RT BrianAgness: 2 pedestrians, hit and killed in seperate incidents in C-bus over the past 24 hours… Makes the case for traffic calming, complete streets.
- RT johntunger: Tonight, a LOT of people are making powerful stories in the streets. That’s where all the best stories are made — in public.
- RT umustbekidding: In a small town, “where do you work” is the question after “you look so familiar….” maybe I’ve seen you at your job?
- RT chinzeDPT: Beautiful morning for a bike commute in
Earlier, I overlooked this press release quote from Rep. Nick Rahall, ranking member of the House Transportation Committee, while reading the reports concerning this week’s Graphic Friday post. Emphasis is mine:
Instead of being consumed by the parochial ‘donor’ and ‘donee’ debate, this GAO report confirms that Congress should be working toward crafting a surface transportation bill that meets the needs of a 21st century national transportation system. Using rate of return as our rationale for how we spend our limited transportation dollars simply detracts from the national focus when we ought to look at the larger picture and determine what investments best help create American jobs and grow our economy.“
Through 2005-2009 every state received more Federal-Aid Highway dollars than it contributed through fuel taxes & other fees. Our grand experiment is not a user paid system and probably shouldn’t be. As well, the money that is collected tends to support highways over local streets–thus subsidizing suburbia/sprawl and focusing funding on large arterials.
- All states are “donees” when it comes to highways (Greater Greater Wash)
- New GAO Report: All States are “Donees” When it Comes to Highways (StreetsBLOG)
- All States Now Receive More In Highway Funding Than They Pay In Federal Gasoline Taxes (Think Progress)
South Campus Drive and the Buffalo Ridge Trail project is nearing completion and will be open for all types of traffic soon. There was
controversy hiccups involved, but with help from several organizations, businesses, agencies, individuals and MyWHaT readers, it is a better project. It will provide access to the Commons and is designed for calmed traffic.
Early August, to late October
In an email from the City Engineer, the following notes were requested to share with visitors to the campus:
- Slow Down – The street is designed to keep the pace of vehicles to 20 MPH. Encourage and remind drivers how unique the Grand Traverse Commons properties are and that we want to respect the Historical Character of this place. The slow pace also allows for commuter cyclists to share the street.
- Give Room – The street is designed at the minimum width of 10′ lanes. This lane width is 2′ narrower than most of the streets in the area and requires special attention for drivers and cyclists. Give Room to buses and other larger vehicles as they will be challenged to skillfully navigate the street and traffic calming measures along the way.
- Completely Stop – At all of the stop signs. You’ll notice we added stop signs at Cottageview Drive last week. Completely stopping at all of the stop signs will help meter the increase in traffic flow along the route and reduce long lines that may form as you travel through.
- Look Out – The traffic signal operation at Silver Lake Road will be a significant change to drivers. Look Out for other traffic as you enter and exit the street as others may not be aware of the new connection. Pedestrians and cyclists can now fully utilize the intersection, so keep a Look Out for people crossing the street.
Silver Driver, looking north near Silver Lake Rd.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a bit more personal than typical posts. I serve on the TC Parks and Rec Commission and I’m involved in a recommendation from that body that has generated some negative feelings;there is a process for them to voice their concerns. This is a big picture response to one particular email sent to the the CC.
An email sent to the Traverse City City Commissioners was recently shared with me. I can only assume for the entertainment value. It’s subject heading sent me into a day of introspection and self-discovery (¡).
Subject: What is wrong with Gary Howe?
As a friend commented on the question: “This is a can of worms, I’m sure.” Tell me about it; I live with myself! I ask myself daily why do I do what I do? Am I crazy? That was even the theme of one of my first posts.
What a relief to have someone I don’t know, have never spoken with, have never seen at a parks and recreation meeting (the reason for the email) and didn’t know existed until he started a campaign to repeal the City’s Anti-Discrimination Ordinance (Plan for TC) share my concerns about self-awareness.
The email goes on to call for my censure and resignation and/or dismissal from Parks and Recreation Commission (a volunteer position that advises the City) due to my role in the planning down at Clinch Park. Apparently, as citizens of a community, we aren’t allowed to have differences of opinion.
I’ll spare you the full text of the email, but I share this because one statement really satisfies the irony bone. Again note, the author of the email (NExpress) is the driving force behind the referendum to repeal the City’s Anti-Discrimination Ordinance–an ordinance passed by a 7-0 vote by an ideologically diverse City Commission. Yet, the author of the email, asking for my resignation due to my inability to “grasp the chain of command“, doesn’t have any cognitive dissonance uttering the following comment:
“Why doe’s he not understand that the Commission has the finial word, and that is the word of the people of Traverse City” [sic].
Again, this from a guy trying to repeal a unanimous decision by the exact same City Commission. Huh?
Do me a favor, please. On November 8th go to the polls, take a ballot and make your first mark a Yes on proposal 1. Also, in comments to this post, let’s show that MyWHaT readers are in full support of Traverse City’s step towards addressing discrimination, for any reason, in the work place. As for the plans for Clinch park, that discussion can wait. Those recommendations are working their way to the Planning Commission and will be back to the City Commission sometime in November. In the meantime:
Shall Chapter 605 of the Traverse City Code of Ordinances, entitled Non-Discrimination, which does the following, with certain exceptions:
- Prohibits specified discriminatory practices in housing, public accommodation, and employment,
- Prohibits discriminatory policies and advertisements,
- Prohibits retaliation against a person for making a complaint or assisting in an investigation under the Chapter,
- Prohibits conspiring to discriminate,
- Requires non-discrimination by city contractors, and
- Sets forth remedies and penalties for violations of the Chapter,
remain in effect?
via Curiosity Counts
Setting: Tunisia, before Sunday’s election (Arab news). The image is of Ben Ali who is serving his first year of a 35 year prison sentence for corruption as the country’s
Prime Minister dictator. After the Tunisian revolution erupted last January, Tunis are not in the mood to see his face, let alone have it plastered across building facades like days before.
In the video, the action really starts around the 50 second mark.
Now, go vote in your own local election.
I know of no other place in the world where anyone leaving home or office is put to periodic torture because great pains have been taken to hide the location of rest rooms.”
~ Edward Hall, anthropologist, in The Silent Language
…Or, great pains to not build them at all.
…Or, great pains to place them at wide distances from activity centers.
This passage was found while reading A Geography of Time by Robert Levine. The book explores the construct of time in different cultures. The American obsession for hiding toilets was used as a point of reference to describe the American tendency for an “unwillingness to deal with immediate needs.” In general, people in the U.S. require “greater urgency” before solving some of life’s daily problems.
Basically, we hold it as long as we can.
In related news, another hurdle arises for public restrooms downtown TC.
|Address:||141 Rivers Edge Dr #400|
|Walk Score:||Couldn’t figure out what you were asking|
|Seat Seeking:||City Commission|
1. What do you do in your spare time?
read (fiction & non-fiction), yoga, bike, ski, kayak, golf,_
2. What was the last activity you participated in at a Traverse City park?
birthday party for a friend
3. Name and describe the most memorable public park, anywhere in the world, that you’ve ever visited?
Sleeping Bear National Dunes Lakeshore
4. What is your primary mode of transportation within the City limits?
auto to work; walk everywhere else
5. On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the most likely, how would you rate your likelihood to increase your use of the following personal transportation methods?
(Answers in Bold & Black)
|Riding a bicycle||1||2||3||4||5|
|Calling a Cab||1||2||3||4||5|
6. In response to question 5, what is your biggest obstacle to more transportation options?
I’m always running late so I drive to work (1 mile). If I need to travel to a meeting during the day, I have acess to quick auto transportation. Other than that, I try to walk most places unless the weather or distance is prohibitive. Since I live in downtown TC I am close to most of the services I need.
7. Please rate your level of participation in the following Traverse City activities:
|National Cherry Festival||1||2||3||4||5|
|Traverse City Film Festival||1||2||3||4||5|
|Michigan Schooner Fest||1||2||3||4||5|
|Opera House Events||1||2||3||4||5|
|TC Microbrew & Music Festival||1||2||3||4||5|
8. What are your thoughts about large events, like those in question 7, in Traverse City?
Large events need to be managed given the proximity to location. Events in or on the edges of neighborhoods need to be sensitive to the time of day, the noise levels, and the degree to which length of the event or type of event disprupts the neighborhood. Events that create vitality are healthy but need to be balanced with the demands put on city services.
9. Define, or give an example of, effective leadership that you have seen in Traverse City?
Effective leadership is demonstrated in many ways. The quiet competence and supportive atmosphere demonstrated by Ben Bifoss is an example to all. As a result, a competent and service-focused culture is evident in many city services. Leadership is also demonstrated by those who lead the hundreds of volunteers in the TC region responsible for the many charitable, service organizations, and city boards and commissions dedicated to everything from environmental and historic preservation to health and human services.
10. What are you for?
I am for people living cooperatively in a community that values the diversity and value of each individual. That individualtiy must be directed outwardly in the best interests of the community (think global, act local). I recently ran across a quote from FDR that succinctly communicates this. FDR said “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little”.
11. What do you fear for Traverse City’s future?
Traverse City is blessed with a number of resources both human and natural that fear for its future does not occupy much of my focus. My fears are from those forces over which we have less control. They are climate change and the world economy.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This November 8th there are 3 commission seats and a mayoral seat on the ballot in Traverse City. To help us prepare, throughout this week we ran responses from the 9 candidates (7 commissioner, 2 mayoral) to the MyWHaT survey. These ran in the order responses were received, one per day during the week and two each on Saturday and Sunday in the order of Michael Estes, Jim Carruthers, Barbara Budros, Robert Donick, David Ford, Patrick McGuire, Timothy Werner, Ralph Soffredine and, finally, Jeanine Easterday.
Please note, the answers are published unedited without annotation. The questions were generated by the MyWHaT advisory council and this contributor. We chose a different path than asking straight-up positions on specific policy or issues. We wanted to get a sense of the person, their individual approaches to life, the public sphere and how they might make decisions.
Comments and endorsements are encouraged on any of these posts. You may even ask questions directly of the candidate, but I can not guarantee that they will respond or even see it. I just ask that we keep it friendly, brief and in-line with our comments policy.